What Are 'Glimmers'? The Tiny Moments Of Hope That Are The Opposite Of Triggers

How to embrace life's hopeful moments, whether times are good or bad.

happy girl in the sunset Iryna Imago / Shutterstock

We've all heard of triggers. Triggers are situations or occurrences that serve as catalysts for what usually are uncontrollable emotional responses. 

Austrian psychotherapist and psychotherapy innovator Viktor Frankl is credited with crystalizing the idea that there is discernable space between stimulus and response. As humans, we always have a choice for how we respond to a situation.

The challenge with triggers is that they hijack our thinking, move us into a fight or flight mode (a sympathetic nervous system response) and move us out of our ability to think well and in alignment with our values.


Then there are glimmers. These are moments of beauty or oneness during or after which we take a moment’s pause in connection. The pause and connection go hand in hand. With the glimmer, we are pulled out of our habitual response patterns and pulled into the present moment. 



The present moment, when we really give it our full attention, is often exquisitely beautiful.


The best part? Unlike triggers, glimmers are within our control.

The power of a glimmer is that it evokes within us a connection to something greater than ourselves. Glimmers often happen by chance. We notice a flower blooming on our walk and its ruby-red color catches our eye as we savor its beauty. We feel the bracing of a cold wind on our skin as we step outside in the early morning and that sharp smell of cold brings us to this "now" moment. 

That's the key with the glimmer — that access to the now. 

When you are working toward a goal or dream, glimmers demonstrate that you are on the right track.

RELATED: How To Keep Fears, Triggers & Past Traumas From Controlling Your Life


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Here are three methods you can use to identify glimmers in your life

1. Notice the 'sprouts'

Let's say you have a goal you've been trying to reach or accomplish. Usually, the early parts of the goal may not look like the final result. For example, a seedling coming out of an acorn does not look at all like a fully mature oak tree, but the seedling is necessary. Without it you can never have the oak tree. 

The glimmer is that early arrival of something that starts to look like your goal, just as the seedling is to the oak tree. The seedling is the sprout. The glimmer is the sprout you can't get to your goal without, but it doesn't look like your goal today.


Let's say you're online dating and looking to create a long-term relationship. Putting your profile online does not look like having a boyfriend and yet it is a sprout. It’s an early step along the way to creating the relationship of your dreams

2. Tune into the 'feeling tone' of the goal or dream

When you are living your dream in your life, there's a certain way you're going to feel. That feeling could be happiness, joy, calm, peace, or relaxation. The feeling tone is an energetic signature that can lead you on your way to the dream even when you don't know how to get there intellectually. When the feeling-tone shows up in your life, it is a glimmer indicating you are on track for your goals and dream.  

3. Learn to read energy maps

My years of working with clients have brought me to believe that there are invisible energetic maps to any well-designed dream. Our work is to learn to read these maps, so we can go from our imagining our dreams to having the result in our reality. To continue the dating example, you don’t want a loving long-term partner in your imagination, you want them in your bed.  

RELATED: How You Can Train Your Brain To Be Blissfully Happy In Seconds


How can you notice glimmers? 

They are all around you. You do this by paying attention to your feelings. When you contemplate an action, does it feel expansive and life-giving, like effervescent champagne bubbles, or does it feel contractive, heavy, like you want to cross your arms in front of you and protect your gut?  

Expansive feelings move you toward your dreams, and contractive ones move you away. It’s that simple. The glimmers are always there, they are part of your energy system. It’s up to you to notice them.

You can initiate glimmers as well.

Using imagination, put on the experience you are dreaming of having. If you were experiencing it, what would you see, smell, feel, touch, taste? Allow yourself to have that feeling, embody it. Then move on with your day. The more you do this, you will notice experiences in life that have that feeling. Those experiences are glimmers and will catch your breath with their beauty.


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Gratitude and glimmers

Another way to identify glimmers is to practice gratitude at the moment. When you notice that you are reactive or otherwise dissatisfied with the way things are, pause and find five things to be grateful for in your present situation. It could be very simple things like you’re breathing, you have friends, you can walk. Find at least five, and really feel the gratitude. With practiced gratitude, you will notice glimmers of beauty popping up. 

Finally, touch something around you, paying attention so acutely that you experience it anew. It could be as simple as gently running the fingers of one hand down the fingers and palm of the other and experiencing the sensations. You may find that the experience is quite exquisite, unexpectedly delicious, and always available to you.


That is a glimmer — a moment of acute awareness and beauty. Glimmers don’t have to be happenstance. They can be at your command.  

RELATED: How To Master The Art Of Being Happy In 15 Steps (Or Less!)

Tara Brown, LMC, RA, RScP, is an architect and life coach and is a best-selling author on using mindset to change your results.